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Heidegger For Beginners (For Beginners) [Paperback]

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Item description for Heidegger For Beginners (For Beginners) by Eric Charles Lemay, Jennifer A. Pitts & Paul Gordon...

The ideas of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger have been described as an intellectual time bomb, as some of the most revolutionary thought in western history. Despite the enormous amount of secondary scholarship available on Heidegger, it is–due to the complexity of his thought and the density of his writing–difficult for the curious beginner to gain an insight into Heidegger's philosophy. Heidegger For Beginners serves as an entry into the ideas of one of the 20th century's most important thinkers, situating Heidegger's thought within its philosophical and historical context–alongside such thinkers as Plato, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche, Husserl and Sartre. Heidegger For Beginners explicates many of Heidegger's central ideas, including the Nothing, average everydayness, care, existence, be-in-the-world, the One, the critique of technology, anxiety, and most importantly, Being–a notion which may offer us the key to understanding the very mystery of our own existence.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   118
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 21, 2007
Publisher   For Beginners
ISBN  1934389137  
ISBN13  9781934389133  

Availability  0 units.

More About Eric Charles Lemay, Jennifer A. Pitts & Paul Gordon

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Eric LeMay teaches writing, literature, and film courses at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago and is the assistant editor of TriQuarterly magazine. He won the 1999 Discovery Award, and his poems have been published in The Paris Review, The Nation, Western Humanities Review, and The Antioch Review.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Movements > Existentialism

Reviews - What do customers think about Heidegger For Beginners (For Beginners)?

Book makes a terrific power-point presentation in the undergraduate classroom. Takes about 2.5 hours to explain Heidegger in all the basics. An excellent teaching tool.
Disappointment  Oct 31, 2003
I picked this up after reading Sartre For Beginners -- an entertaining, smart, and humorous intro to Sartre. This book, however, was a big disappointment. It runs about half the length of Sartre for Beginners with hardly any text, the humor is stale, and Heidegger's work is glossed over so poorly and with such brevity that its more apt to confuse a reader of Heidegger than help them.

This book does not explain Heidegger's use of phenomenology and how it differs from Husserl's, how Heidegger relates Being with temporality (!), or even, in any depth, how Heidegger escapes the subject/object problem. Aside from these key points, the author doesn't seem to touch on almost ANY of Heidegger's work -- which might be understandable, considering Heidegger's enormous output, but this book is woefully short in pages and on text.

Lastly, there is a page in this book that has Heidegger set on a backdrop of a concentration camp. It condemns Heidegger for being a dedicated Party member who unapologetically followed the ideology of the Nazis. It ends by calling Heidegger a "Gernman Redneck."

While Heidegger's participation in the Nazi party was contemptible, to say the least, it does not warrant such treatment. He was never an Anti-Semite, and openly condemned racism as "biological liberalism" as early as 1935. He also came to understand the Nazi movement, in these same lectures, as a mobilization enterprise, the likes of which he condemned as a technological worldview. What he did do as a Nazi, his rectorship at Freidburg, is worthy of full condemnation, but the author doesn't even mention it.

In all, a disappointment.

a painless introduction to Heidegger, but only an intro  Aug 14, 2002
I wish I had found this book before starting on Heidegger in a class. It is a simple (simplified) overview of the complex and integrated thought of Heidegger. But I believe it will give beginners an overview of what to expect as they dig deeper. Then the digging will be less painful and more profitable.

In our class, it became known as the "Heidegger Coloring Book", but others were eager to borrow my copy.

A good starting point, no matter how serious you are or are not.

An entertaining and informative introduction for beginners.  Oct 21, 2001
HEIDEGGER FOR BEGINNERS. By Eric LeMay & Jennifer A. Pitts. Illustrated by Paul Gordon. 120 pp. New York : Writers and Readers Publishing, Inc., 1994. ISBN 0-86316-172-3 (Pbk).

It's difficult not to be impressed by the audacity of the Heideggerian enterprise. Here is a philosopher who, at the outset of his career, decided that Western thought had been fundamentally in error about everything for the last two thousand years, and who set out single-handedly to rectify matters by showing us, not only how we ought to be thinking, but also what things were really all about. If he was right about the West being all wrong, and there are excellent reasons for supposing that he was, he clearly becomes someone we ought to know something about. But where to begin?

The Heidegger opus is MASSIVE, and consists of upwards of a hundred or so volumes, none of them easy. His German is notoriously obscure, even for native speakers of that language, and translation does little to improve it. And the works of his commentators, which in 1989 ran to over four thousand books and articles and today numbers considerably more, can often be even more obscure than Heidegger himself. Happily authors LeMay and Pitts, with the collaboration of Paul Gordon, have come to the rescue of all of those dazed and bewildered beginners out there with their extremely well-done illustrated treatment of Heidegger's basic thought.

The illustrations are both effective and amusing. The thought is authentic Heidegger and, so far as it goes, accurate. The treatment, while witty, is respectful. The book concludes with some good advice about Further Reading, a basic Bibliography, and a brief anthology of key extracts : 'Martin Heidegger : In His Own Words' - On the Essence of Truth; On the Subject; On Being; On Authentic Existence; On Technology, etc. The aim, in short, seems to have been, while not overburdening the beginner with too much of Heidegger's radically different style of thinking, to give him or her enough to stimulate a desire to know more. In this I think the authors have been successful. 'Heidegger for Beginners' will be enjoyed by many who are new to Heidegger, and perhaps by at least some who are not so new.

Purists, of course, will shriek that beginners would be far better off reading Steiner, or Poggeler, or Safranski, or even Heidegger himself. Of course they would! But purists have a curious tendency to forget that they too were once BEGINNERS (i.e., persons who know nothing but who would like to know something), and that prior to having become self-appointed 'experts,' they might have taken a less snooty attitude to the book under review, a book which - I repeat - is for beginners who may not yet be ready for something more substantial.

My advice to beginners would be to forget about the purists (who rarely know as much as they like to pretend), and to curl up for a few good hours of fun and edification with LeMay and Pitts. You'll be amused. You'll certainly learn 'something' about Heidegger. And some of you will be left with a desire to know more. For those who would like to know more, details of one of the finest available conventional Introductions to Heidegger for the general reader are as follows:

MARTIN HEIDEGGER. By George Steiner. 173 pp. University of Chicago Press edition, 1987 (1978). ISBN 0-226-77232-2 (pbk.)

Basics of Heidegger Explained  Sep 18, 2000
This book is excellent for the beginner who does not understand the basics of Heidegger. Everything from Dasein to the concept of rebirth of Being and what went wrong with the Modern Philosophical tradition is listed here in cartoon form. It is a book similar to that of Donald Palmer's Looking at Philosophy: The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy made lighter. It skims the surface of Heideggerian thought and introduces the novice to most of the terms used by Heidegger in his philosophy. Sometimes it is profound, but it is basically meant for the beginner as a springboard for Heideggerian thought.

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